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Thread: Patti Parry Interview

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    Patti Parry Interview

    Patti Parry
    by Patti Parry (with Lee Dawson)

    First published 2004

    LD - Where were you born in England?

    PP - I grew up in Stanford Hill on Upper Clapton Road with all my
    family there and it
    was lovely and as a kid I used to go to the super theatre on the hill
    and I used to
    see all the American Cowboy movies with Roy Rogers and when we
    emigrated to
    America in 1953, we got off the QE1 and I expected to see Cowboys and
    Indians
    everywhere?

    LD - Ok, you arrive in the USA in 1953...

    PP - Yeah, we went to Buffalo, New York and my father hated it,
    compared to
    London, we moved to Chicago for a year and then we came to California
    and I
    have been here ever since. I go back to London almost every year to
    visit my
    family.

    Next time I am over I will have to visit you guys.

    I told Elvis the truth, I was there for 17 years and those guys
    adopted me, I was
    everyone's little sister.

    LD - You were with Elvis when the Beatles paid a visit weren't you!

    PP - I was yeah.

    LD - What can you tell us of that meeting?

    PP - First you have to realise something... I got into gospel music, I
    say that I am
    the only Jewish girl that knows every gospel song there is.

    I wasn't into the Beatles, in fact I wasn't into Elvis Presley until I
    met him, you know
    .... But they came up to the house and they were very quiet and all
    they were doing
    was just staring at him and Elvis was getting uncomfortable and so he
    said "Look
    guys, if all your gonna do is stare at me, I'm gonna go to bed!" and
    that kinda
    broke the ice and so they started playing music together and had a
    game of pool
    and stuff.

    But! That meeting didn't make such a mark on me, the thing which made
    a mark on
    me was when we did a concert in Long Beach and Led Zeplin was there
    right! And I
    go back stage and Elvis whispers to me "Who are these guys?" so I say
    "I don't
    know!" so he says "Patti, your from England, talk to them", and so I
    sat and talked
    to Jimmy Page who was so brilliant, he was like a scholar you know. So
    I was more
    impressed at our meeting with them than the Beatles.

    LD - It a tragedy the meeting between Elvis and the Beatles wasn't
    taped!

    PP - Listen honey, there was never a tape of anything darling. You
    know, in all the
    years I was with Elvis, I never even thought to take a picture with
    him

    LD - Yeah I know, you always hear from some quarters, If this person
    or
    that person was so close to Elvis why isn't there more pictures of
    them
    together?" Which if you were around Elvis all the time you don't carry
    a
    camera around, I don't think I have one picture of me with my cousin
    for
    example.

    PP - I know, I mean what do these people think? That I was gonna get
    Elvis to have
    his picture taken with me all the time? I mean we were family you
    know!

    I know that Joe [Esposito], bless his heart took pictures of
    everything which is
    fantastic because we have a record of everything, but I never did.

    In fact one of the only pictures I have with Elvis was taken in Vegas
    and he had just
    got off stage and looked terrible, he said "I dont want this picture"
    and on the other
    side was Linda Thompson right, so when I did the fan club thing I had
    the picture
    cropped, anyway, I saw Linda on the Larry King show and she had me
    cropped out
    of the other side (Laughter!!!!)

    It does break my heart that I don't have more pictures but I have my
    memories and
    that is more important to me.

    LD - Did you ever go to many of the movie sets with Elvis?

    PP - Yeah, the first one I went to was 'Kid Galahad' and he had a
    lovely house
    were that was being shot, in fact one of my favourite memories of
    walking into Elvis'
    house was the smell of bacon, you always smelled bacon, so when ever I
    smell
    bacon I think of Elvis.

    (Laughter!!!)

    I was also on the set of 'Wild in the Country' and also 'Viva Las
    Vegas'

    LD - So all the stories of the fun on set was true?

    PP - Oh yes, but you have to remember that it was so boring on the
    sets, they
    would do like 3 minutes of shooting and then 3 hours of moving sets
    around so
    Elvis and the guys

    You must remember, Elvis was a prisoner of his own fame. We could not
    go
    anywhere, whatever house we were at, there would be around 50 girls at
    the gate,
    so we couldn't go out. We watched television most of the time, the
    Dick Van Dyke
    show or football, we watched a lot of football.

    We had to make our own fun and we all had the same personality, we all
    knew what
    was going on in each others heads, we made our own fun.

    LD - Did Elvis ever tell you he was tired of doing the movies?

    PP - He hated doing them .... King Creole was before my time with him
    but he
    wanted to be a good actor and he could have been a really good actor.
    He was
    brilliant in King Creole but the Hal Wallis movies and the others just
    cut to songs
    and he hated them, he was bored!

    LD - On the subject of the movies, Loanne Parker, the Colonels widow,
    she
    stated that Elvis never did a film that he didn't want to do. What is
    your
    opinion on that?

    PP - Elvis and Parker had an incredible deal and he did the work he
    was supposed
    to do and he did it. But I know he wanted to do better things.

    I mean, he had a chance to do 'A Star Is Born' but Parker turned it
    down because
    of billing and stuff but Elvis was very excited about doing that film,
    he would have
    been brilliant in that.

    There were a lot of things he didn't do which he should have. I
    remember one time
    in Vegas, they wanted him to do a show for all the crowned heads of
    Europe and
    Elvis made fun of that, he could just picture singing in front of this
    crowd with
    crowns on their heads. Elvis was a funny man, a funny man, he had the
    most
    incredible personality.

    He was a good man, he loved his friends and we were good to him!

    LD - Was there ever any jealousy from Elvis' girlfriends towards you?

    PP - No, there never was. I was always there and when ever a new girl
    came in, I
    was introduced as part of the family. So they knew there was nothing
    romantically
    between us and to this day, Linda Thompson......I love, and indeed all
    the women.

    LD - Elvis took you on a personal tour of Memphis didn't he!

    PP - Yeah, he said "Do you wanna come to Memphis for Christmas?" so I
    fly in
    there and I get to the house and I'm like, my god, I'm at
    Graceland........Anyway, he
    takes me on this little golf cart and I thought we would have this
    nice little tour, but
    this cart had like jet engines on it and he would fly through the
    woods and stuff.

    Well, he took me to Humes High and Sun Records and he took me to his
    Mothers
    grave and the funny thing is I'm standing there and he says to me
    "Patti, your
    standing on my Mother',' he had a very very funny personality.

    LD - Lana [my wife] is so jealous at the fact the you were in the
    audience at
    the 68 Comeback.

    PP - Have you seen me in that?

    LD - No I haven't!

    PP - Do you have the show?

    LD - Oh yes!!

    PP - I will tell you exactly were you see me, when he sing 'Trying To
    Get To You'
    and right after they pan the camera and there I am with my hair up,
    big big dark
    hair and eye make up and I'm wearing a white top. I was a babe then
    darling!!
    (laughter). Every time he looks over in that special and laughs, he
    was laughing at
    me.

    LD - You had been around Elvis since 1960, what was it like seeing
    him
    there, doing the special and how was he feeling?

    PP - He was so nervous about doing that show, but you know what? The
    best thing
    about seeing him back was that he loved entertaining. That was what he
    loved.

    When he came out in Vegas, I was there every night and when he walked
    out there
    .... Elvis was different on stage to what he was at home .... He loved
    to entertain
    and every show was different personality wise.

    I remember one birthday, my whole family was with me at the front of
    the stage and
    he gets down on his knees in front of me and starts singing 'Love Me
    Tender' and
    I'm going "Get away from me, get away, don't embarrass me, get away
    from me"
    and he is laughing and band is laughing .... But he loved being on
    stage.

    LD - Quickly going back to the 68 special, do you remember what
    Elvis'
    mood was like after taping the show.

    PP - He was so excited! He was stoked man! Nobody ever forgot him into
    what he
    wanted to be, to be an entertainer, rather than a stupid movie star.

    I love the movies, they are cute, but this is what he wanted to do,
    this was what
    made him happy and that show was the beginning of the rest of his
    career you
    know!

    And think about it....BLACK LEATHER!! They're wearing black leather
    now, Elvis
    was amazing, he had black leather outfits and he changed the whole
    world.

    LD - Oh yes, everyone followed Elvis and still do!

    PP - Exactly! The man changed the world of music and he changed a lot
    of lives,
    he changed mine .... And yours too, look what you do and you're just a
    baby
    (laughter!!)

    LD - Of all the Elvis concerts you attended, is there any that really
    stand
    out?

    PP - The Aloha special was amazing, he looked gorgeous.

    LD - One thing about the Aloha special, Elvis looked absolutely
    incredible
    and your cut his hair for that one didn't you!

    PP - Honey, I'm a really good hair cutter (laughter); What happened
    was, he was in
    Hawaii and he did the rehearsal show and he was not happy with his
    hair and so he
    called me up and told me to get to Hawaii and he flew me in and I cut
    his hair.

    He looked great, I got there and he had lost weight and he looked so
    great.

    We had the whole 30th floor of the hotel and we all hung out there,
    but the sad
    thing was that we were all out on the beach but Elvis was stuck in his
    room, he
    couldn't go out. He really was a prisoner of his own fame, it was very
    hard you
    know!

    LD - It is very sad and it must have been so frustrating for Elvis?

    PP - It sure was, I mean, we had a great time. In Vegas we were like
    vampires, we
    couldn't go out and when we did go to see a show, we would have to
    enter the
    show once it had started and leave before the end.

    I remember when the Righteous Brothers were on stage, Elvis kept
    walking across
    the stage behind them and the crowd was going wild! He did it just to
    bug them
    (laughter).

    But we had a lot of people come to the suite, all the stars and such

    LD - You still have your TLC necklace!

    PP - That will never come off my neck darling!

    LD - How did Elvis actually present them to you guys?

    PP - What happened was, there was a place on Beverly Drive in Beverly
    Hills called
    Swartz's jewellery shop and Eivis would go there and buy jewellery.
    The man was
    amazing, when he went shopping, everybody would get something, if he
    bought
    something, he bought everybody something. He once gave me a Jewish
    star, Elvis
    always wore a Jewish star and a cross because he said he didn't want
    to get shut
    out of heaven on a technicality.

    LD - I have always thought that is a great way of looking at religion.

    PP - Elvis loved the Jewish religion, but anyway, he just wanted
    everybody to have
    something, and he designed something that would show we were all part
    of his
    family and he gave TCB's to the guys and TLC's for the girls.

    LD - I have a TCB and I treasure it, Elvis never gave me this
    obviously but
    like you I never take the thing off, it means a lot to me.

    PP - Listen darling, I love that you love my friend, it's really
    special too me. People
    like you keep him alive and I think it's amazing but it would boggle
    Elvis' mind you
    know!!

    LD - I did an interview last year for BBC television and they asked me
    why
    do I do it? And all 1 cou1d really say was to say thank you to Elvis
    for
    everything he has done for me. He has given me so much happiness and
    pleasure...

    PP - That is so nice and that makes me feel so happy, that's what it's
    all about
    darlin'.
    LD - In 1972, Elvis wrote down his
    philosophy for life for you.

    PP - Yeah, Jimmy Velvet owns the original
    now but I have a copy and it is in Elvis'
    handwriting, I will send you a copy.

    LD - Thank you, that would be really
    nice! Why haven't you written a book
    yet?

    PP - The publishers want you to say really
    nasty things and I won't do it, there are
    really good stuff and my memories are the best. I love to talk to fans
    so people get
    to know the real Elvis...................Maybe one day I will, I don't
    know?

    LD - The thing I admire more about Elvis, more than his singing is
    his
    search to understand everything.

    PP - Elvis couldn't figure out why him? He loved being Elvis, he had a
    great life but
    he was a regular guy, he was just like us honey!
    He took care of us and we took care of him but he couldn't figure out
    why him? He
    knew he was special. People ask me what do I think Elvis would think
    of all this now
    and I think it would boggle his mind?

    LD - One of our readers, Deborah Shah asks:
    "Hi Patti, I'm a Jewish girl too and I wonder what significance, if
    any, Elvis
    put on the fact you are Jewish. For instance did you ever talk about
    it?

    PP - He always wore the Jewish star and when I got married, he
    couldn't come
    because he was in Memphis and he said I wouldn't like to step on that
    glass" so I
    said "You couldn't step on the glass Elvis".

    He had a real great sense of humour and he would call Israel, IS-REAL
    and this is
    funny, I swear I have never told anyone this before, he said to me one
    time "You
    know what Gods real name was?" so I said what was his real name and
    Elvis said
    "His name was Hallowid" So I asked him what he meant and he said, it
    says
    HALLOWID be thy name" (laughter!!!)

    But he really respected every religion; he was a good man and a great
    friend. He
    loved his Mom and he loved his friends, we were lucky, we were like
    family.

    LD - Deborah also asks that she saw in a video that Elvis was a
    wonderful
    human being and that he influenced you. In what ways did he influence
    you?

    PP - He influenced me by how good he was to friends, he shared
    everything.
    Everything he had, we had. We got to share everything. He changed my
    life and
    hopefully we changed his life too, you know!

    I would give him so much stick, I would tell him the truth you know
    and he loved that!

    I never went on payroll, I was there as his friend but I would kick
    his *** and tell him
    the truth, he needed that but people on the payroll wouldn't do that
    and
    unfortunately I got married so I couldn't travel with him as much and
    he was left
    surrounded by a bunch of kids who he couldn't relate too.

    He was just like you and me honey; I think about him everyday, I dream
    about him,
    people have no idea just how much I miss that man.

    LD - The book which was written by Red West, Sonny West and Dave
    Hebler. What are your memories of that?

    PP - It divided us for a long time, but listen. Red was special to
    Elvis and so was
    Sonny. Dave Hebler was not really part of our family, he was new. It
    was a long time
    ago and I am sure Elvis would have forgiven them, I think they thought
    they were
    doing something right! But it took me 25 years to get back in contact
    with Sonny
    but Elvis was a forgiving man.

    Maybe they made the wrong decisions and the wrong choices but I think
    they
    thought they were trying to help him.

    I really hate discussing that stuff but we were family, I have my own
    feelings on that,
    I know it hurt Elvis but forgive and forget. I would like you to talk
    with Sonny and
    Red one day.

    LD - That would be good, I keep pushing John for that, oh and he
    sends
    his love.

    PP - I love Wilkinson

    LD - His a good man isn't he!

    PP - Oh he really is!!

    LD - Did Elvis ever talk to you about the future, what his plans were?

    PP - Not really, we lived day to day

    LD - When was the last time you were with Elvis?

    PP - I didn't see Elvis, probably 8 months before he died, I got
    married, I married a
    doctor and it was hard for him.

    One day I told my husband "Do me a favour and don't tell anyone I know
    Elvis" you
    see I lost my identity because everybody wanted to know about Elvis.

    In fact, when I first met Elvis, everyone wanted to be my friend and
    it got really
    hard. I went to a shrink and I'm paying this guy $85 an hour and he
    says to me, well
    tell me about Elvis (laughter).

    Hey Lee I think we should write a book!

    LD - Good idea!

    PP - I never took anyone to the house but I took my husband up and
    Elvis said to
    him in 15 years she never brought anyone here and if she loves you, I
    love you" he
    gave him a gold watch and stuff. But it was very hard for a man to
    live up to Elvis, I
    would be with my husband and Elvis would call and I would
    leave............But it's
    hard for a man and Elvis was first and foremost in my life.

    I really think we should do a book together Lee.

    LD - I think we need to get that done.

    PP - We should do

    Guys like you make me so proud that you love my friend and honour him.

    LD - Believe me Patti, on behalf of all Elvis' fans it is our
    pleasure.

    PP - He's up there looking down at all of us and he loved it!!

    LD - Larry. in Iowa USA asks did Elvis wear a wig at the end of his
    life?

    PP - No I don't think he did. Elvis had really, really fine hair and
    when and what I
    find funny is people say that all his supposed love children have his
    same black
    hair and blue eyes.

    I just say, Number 51 Clairol, Black velvet gave him his hair colour.
    Elvis had sandy
    blonde hair and we dyed his hair. But he had really fine hair and we
    had to use a
    lot of hairspray.

    LD - Larry also asks, do you think Elvis truly understood how much his
    fans
    cared about him and his music?

    PP - Of course he did, he would never ever put down a fan. He loved
    the fans and
    appreciated his fans totally. I mean, he would get down into the
    audience, of
    course he appreciated the fans. He knew where he came from and he
    appreciated
    what he had and he shared that with everyone. He wasn't one of these
    arrogant
    celebrities. He would talk to everyone and he would buy total
    strangers a new car,
    he was so generous.

    LD - Patti, I think I should let you go now!

    PP - Oh you're fed up with talking to me now? (laughter)

    LD - No! No! I could talk with you all night.

    PP ~ Ok c'mon, I'm Here, I'm ready, I'm hanging with my buddy!

    LD - That's good of you!. When did you first notice it falling apart?

    PP - I don't think it ever really fell apart, his mood was always
    great but it was hard
    for him, as I say, he couldn't go anywhere. Put it this way, if you
    were locked in a
    house and couldn't go out 24/7 it's really difficult.

    He got mad sometimes but he would try and cover it and say sorry, he
    was a good
    guy, he was a gentle, sweet man. He was a baby, the guy was just like
    you and me
    darlin' he was my friend. People should learn from Elvis, he really
    was an amazing
    man, giving, loving and trusting!

    Lee, what time is it there now?

    LD - It's 2:05 in the morning

    PP - It's very nice talking to you and I am so glad we got together!
    And I hope that
    we are going to meet one day! And you stay in contact ok honey

    LD - Patti, I now know why Elvis loved you so much, you're a wonderful
    lady

    PP - Thank you honey, that is really sweet of you, I appreciate that a
    lot! And say
    hi to Lana for me.

    LD - We will meet soon. Goodbye.
    __________________________________________________ _________________________

  2. #2
    TCB Mafia kathy parkinson's Avatar
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    Thank you Jess, i enjoyed that, do you have any more from Shelly Powers.

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    Loving elvis
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    What a great interview , she really did think the world of elvis.

    Thanks for posting jess.

  4. #4
    Elvis Presley Blvd Unchained Melody's Avatar
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    That was a great read, I really like that woman, and you can tell just by reading her answers to the questions shes so polite and misses her friend terribly
    "How do I get placed in situations like this? Ah hell, I guess it's all part of showbusiness "~ Elvis in his limo on his way to perform in Omaha, NE on June 19th 1977


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathy parkinson View Post
    Thank you Jess, i enjoyed that, do you have any more from Shelly Powers.

    I'll have a look, Kathy. I like Shelly's Interviews, too. (Although she agrees with everyone, lol).

    Take care,
    Kim

  6. #6
    Elvis Presley Blvd Unchained Melody's Avatar
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    And if she does decide to write a book (WHICH I HOPE SHE DOES) I will definitley be buying it. she is someone I would love to sit down and have a coversation with !!!!!
    "How do I get placed in situations like this? Ah hell, I guess it's all part of showbusiness "~ Elvis in his limo on his way to perform in Omaha, NE on June 19th 1977


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col Jon Burrows View Post
    And if she does decide to write a book (WHICH I HOPE SHE DOES) I will definitley be buying it. she is someone I would love to sit down and have a coversation with !!!!!

    Yes, she would be great to have a conversation with! lol

    I really like people who are down to earth, and real.

  8. #8
    Elvis Presley Blvd Unchained Melody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jess View Post
    Yes, she would be great to have a conversation with! lol

    I really like people who are down to earth, and real.
    Me too, and thats why I liker her so well
    If you've seen the documentary Elvis In Hollywood e true hollywood story shes on it
    "How do I get placed in situations like this? Ah hell, I guess it's all part of showbusiness "~ Elvis in his limo on his way to perform in Omaha, NE on June 19th 1977


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